A Virtual Gem Awards Toasts to a Resilient Year for the Fine Jewelry Industry

Last week, the Jewelers of America celebrated its annual Gem Awards event virtually, a response to the ongoing global pandemic.

The digital event — which honored the outstanding achievements of individuals and companies whose work raises the visibility and status of fine jewelry and watches — awarded image architect Law Roach with the Jewelry Style Award and John Kennedy the Lifetime Achievement Award. It also took a heartfelt look back on the watch and jewelry industries’ responses to COVID-19, and paid tribute to the legacy of Tiffany & Co.’s Elsa Peretti.

Roach — known for styling Hollywood heavyweights like Zendaya and Anya Taylor-Joy, as well as his several stints on reality TV — kicked the evening off, calling the jewelry he styles the cherry on top to the images he creates, helping to make his clients feel even more beautiful. “This means a lot to me, because jewelry means lot to me,” he said. “It’s that little thing you are able to obtain when you work hard and it’s something that can be passed down from generation to generation.”

Following Roach, a montage showed how the tight-knit fine jewelry community stepped up to the plate to help during 2020 by creating Personal Protective Equipment, distributing face masks, providing meals for essential workers and fundraising for a mix of charities. The video also highlighted the industries reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, with the creation of the Black in Jewelry Coalition to help address the imbalance of representation within the fine jewelry space.

Typically, the IRL event has its fair share of peacocking, with the crowd showing off their finest wares and jewels — but all was not lost as the #gemawardsjewelry hashtag made space for those in attendance to show off their jewelry pieces on social media platforms.

While the awards moved to July this year, they plans to return to their normal timeline next year, announcing Jan. 14, 2022 as the date for the 20th edition of the soirée.

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